Not everyone with ADD or ADHD will find they face the same challenges at work. Many people struggle with distractions, which may be internal, external or both. Internal distractions may include random thoughts popping into your head while trying to focus on a task, while external ones come from what’s going on around you, like a pair of chatty co-workers gossiping over the watercooler. The following resources provide useful advice on making the most of your hours at work.
Start your day with pre-planning and a little housecleaning. Taking 15 minutes to set a game plan for the day – including prioritizing your task list and how long you want to spend on each project – will give you the opportunity to set goals for yourself. Even if you set a few small goals for the day rather than one large one, you’re setting yourself up for success by devising a navigation plan from punch in to punch out. This is also a good time to free your desk of clutter you may have accumulated the previous day to prevent later distractions.
Identify and reduce or eliminate your distractions. There are measures you can take to battle those that come from the world around you, or even from within yourself. Do you have a noisy cubicle neighbor? Try putting some headphones on and listening to classical music. Is it difficult for you to focus on a task for too long? Set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour, and commit to working without checking your phone or e-mails in that timeframe. When time is up, set the timer again to allow yourself a few minutes to check for any new messages or work updates.
Are you struggling with time management, organization or focus? There’s an app for that. Many major app companies have created tools you can utilize at the office. They range from pocket planners and organizers to specialized timers that can help you dedicate yourself to focusing on the details of a project.
Be aware of your face-to-face, phone and written interactions with your co-workers. Many people with ADD have a tendency to act on impulses, which in the workplace can result in frequent interruptions of peers or unedited and perhaps inappropriate e-mails being sent to team members. If this is something you struggle with, take a few extra moments to evaluate a situation before providing your input.
Put your fidgeting habit to good use. It can be difficult for anyone to sit at a desk all day with or without ADHD. Including intermittent stretching and posture routines that can be done right at your desk are a great way to break up long periods of staring at a computer screen. You can also take a quick jaunt around the office if you still feel you can’t sit still – you will immediately feel more energized and less stir crazy.